Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thursday night's epic comeback win by the Sox over the Rays got me to thinking. What are the greatest Red Sox wins of my lifetime? I'm starting with the 1974 season, which is when I started following baseball. Here's my list, in chronological order.

1975 World Series Game 6: The story of this one is baseball legend: Bernie Carbo's game tying home run, Dwight Evans' great catch of a Joe Morgan drive and Carlton Fisk's signature home run off the foul pole in the 12b-1 inning. This is maybe the greatest game in baseball history, not just Red Sox history.

Last game of the 1978 regular season: This is kind of a group award. People forget this because of the 14.5 game collapse and the loss to the Yankees in the playoff game, but the Red Sox had to win their last 8 games to force the playoff. Luis Tiant beat Toronto 8-0 while the Indians and Rick Waits beat the Yankees. I have a very clear memory of the immortal Jack Brohamer making the last out on a pop-up to third base.

1986 ALCS Game 5: The Sox come back from a 5-2 deficit in an elimination game against the California Angels with 2 run homers by Don Baylor and Dave Henderson to take a 6-5 lead. The Angels manage a run to tie in the 9th, but the Sox win on a Hendu sacrifice fly in the 11th. With the Angels totally demoralized, the Red Sox complete the comeback, winning games 6 and 7 at Fenway by a combined score of 18-5. Angels closer Donnie Moore eventually commits suicide, which may or may not have been related to his failure in this game.

1999 ALDS Game 5: An injured Pedro Martinez comes in to relieve with the Sox down 8-7 in the 4th inning and proceeds to shut down the Indians for six innings with nothing but guts, guile and his incomparable changeup. Keep in mind that this was a Cleveland lineup with guys like Roberto Alomar, Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome. The Sox ended up winning 12-8. Troy O'Leary powered the Sox offense with two home runs and 7 RBI. Pedro's performance was one of the gutsiest things I have ever seen in a baseball game.

2003 ALDS Game 3: Trot Nixon hits a 2-run, walkoff homer in the bottom of the 11th to win the game. The Sox, who were down 2-0 in the series at the time, come back and win the series to advance to the ALCS. I saw the game at a Chinese restaurant in Woonsocket, RI.

A-Rod eats glove, July 24, 2004: Possibly the greatest picture in the history of photography came out of this game, as Jason Varitek shoves his glove into Alex Rodriguez's face after A-Rod threatens to go after Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo after being hit by a pitch. That's the part everyone remembers, but the Sox won this game 11-10 on a walkoff homer by Bill Mueller off Mariano Rivera. Along with the Garciaparra trade, this is widely seen as the turning point of the 2004 season.

2004 ALCS, games 4 and 5: Things were looking pretty bad for the Sox, down 3-0 in the series after losing game 3 19-8 at Fenway. Then Dave Roberts steal, Mueller's single to tie the game and Papi's homer to win the game in the bottom of the 12th got the Greatest Comeback in Sports History started. Game 5 went 14 innings, ended by another Ortiz walkoff, a single this time. The Red Sox finally slew the New York-based dragon that had been tormenting them for decades.

2004 World Series, game 4: The game itself wasn't particularly outstanding (a 3-0 Red Sox win), but considering it broke the 86 year World Series drought, it belongs on this list.

2008 ALCS Game 5: Thursday night's comeback against the Rays. We'll see if this goes any further tonight.

Anything I missed? Leave them in the comments below!


At 10:19 AM, Anonymous Joe Magennis said...

I love the inclusion of the Glove sandwhich game ... It was the weekend that I was exposing my soon to be wife to the entire family. We were all watching the game while vacationing on the Cape and she was absorbed in all of that drama.

When Mueller finally hit that homerun she blurted out, "this is what the Red Sox do, isn't it" .... The whole family started laughing and a new membe of The Nation was initiated.


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